What Was CHAZ
CHAZ, as an acronym, stood for Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. More than that, CHAZ stood as a protest against police brutality and police involvement in predominantly black communities. The name was picked because it symbolized the protesters goal of personal autonomy and freedom for all people. Beyond being an accurate description of the region, CHAZ became a symbol for those fighting for freedom from the police state everywhere. However, for some, the idea that an area of Seattle being completely free and autonomous was just too much to handle.
The walls were closing in on CHAZ. Very quickly, you had yahoos like Trump threatening military action. The issue was that if CHAZ was autonomous, then that gave the government a clear path towards re-absorption. The solution? A rebrand. Thus, CHAZ became CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest). Changing from an autonomous zone to an occupied protest drastically increases the rights of the people of CHAZ. Even if they lost some of the frontier spirit that the name CHAZ brought, the rebrand to CHOP is a positive step towards a sustainable occupation.
Is CHOP Better
There are a number of reasons why the rename will benefit the protestors. First of all, it becomes much harder for them to be falsely labeled as an enemy of the state if they are not claiming to be autonomous. There has never been an autonomous zone in the United States, so that gave the government free reign to do whatever they wanted to the protestors, however, there is a lot of legal precedent for a prolonged occupation. This means that the checks and balances are already in place to ensure the safety for the CHOP protestors. CHOP is now in the same league as Occupy Wallstreet. Overall, changing from CHAZ to CHOP is probably the best strategic move the community could make, even if it makes things a bit confusing for those of us following at home.